Elder Abuse in Pennsylvania on the Rise, Task Force Established

When most people think of elder abuse in Pennsylvania, they associate it with neglect or substandard conditions in nursing homes. Bedsores and weight loss are both signs that that your loved one may a victim of nursing home neglect. While it is true that many long-term care facilities have very limited operating budgets and do not have enough staff members to properly care for their residents, there are other types of elder abuse that need to be stopped as well.

A report released by the Pennsylvania Department of aging lists emotional, financial, physical, sexual and verbal abuse all as types of elder abuse. Another source states that elder abuse is on the rise; between 2007 and 2011, incidents have increased by 35 percent. In more than 4,300 of the cases reported in recent years, the victims required protective services from their abusers. In light of these staggering numbers, a committee has been established to combat the problem. They are tasked with studying issues of neglect and abuse as they relate to caregivers and make legal and educational recommendations based on their findings. The study should be complete sometime in 2014.

In the meantime, we encourage family members of senior citizens to look for possible signs of battery or abuse. These may include bruises or broken bones explained by caregivers as “repeated falls,” or simply an intuition that something isn’t right. If you suspect that your loved one is a victim physical abuse or any other type of abuse, you should report it immediately. You may also want to consult with an attorney regarding your rights. While no amount of money can make up for such reprehensible behavior, a civil lawsuit can help with additional medical expenses as well as send a message to caregivers that abuse will not be tolerated.

Source: York Daily Record, “York County elder abuse reports have increased, officials say,” Ed Mahon, June 12, 2013

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